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Scientists discover an ancient wormlike creature that's the ancestor of all animals – including us

Oldes ancestor of humans

Scientists have discovered a fossil of our earliest ancestor: a tiny, wormlike creature that lived about 555 million years ago, according to a new study.

"It's the earliest 'bilaterian' .... which is an organism with a front and back, two symmetrical sides and openings at either end connected by a gut," scientists from the University of California–Riverside said in a statement.

"It’s the oldest fossil we get with this type of complexity,” UCR geologist and study co-author Mary Droser said. The tiny fossil, about as big as a grain of rice, was discovered in Australia.

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One of Darwin's evolution theories finally proved by Cambridge researcher

Darwon's theory on the origin of speciesLaura van Holstein, a PhD student in Biological Anthropology at St John's College, University of Cambridge, and lead author of the research published today (March 18) in Proceedings of the Royal Society, discovered mammal subspecies play a more important role in evolution than previously thought.

Her research could now be used to predict which species conservationists should focus on protecting to stop them becoming endangered or extinct.

A species is a group of animals that can interbreed freely amongst themselves. Some species contain subspecies -- populations within a species that differ from each other by having different physical traits and their own breeding ranges. Northern giraffes have three subspecies that usually live in different locations to each other and red foxes have the most subspecies -- 45 known varieties -- spread all over the world. Humans have no subspecies.

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‘Hidden Figures’ mathematician Katherine Johnson, who broke barriers in space and NASA, dies at 101

Katherine Johnson dies at 101Katherine Johnson, the venerated NASA mathematician who was depicted in the film “Hidden Figures,” died Monday, NASA said in a tweet. She was 101.

“Ms. Johnson helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement.

“At NASA we will never forget her courage and leadership and the milestones we could not have reached without her.”

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New Horizons images of Arrokoth show building blocks for planets

Arrokoth is about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft zoomed past a city-sized object just over a year ago. The most distant object ever explored, since named Arrokoth, was a “planetesimal” lurking quietly in the outer solar system a billion miles past Pluto. The spacecraft beamed back images of what looked like two lumpy, reddish snowballs, one larger than the other, gently pressed together to form an extraterrestrial snowperson.

On Thursday the New Horizons scientists published their full analysis and high-resolution images of Arrokoth in three voluminous reports in the journal Science. They contend this quirky object provides compelling evidence for how planets in our solar system, including Earth, formed four and a half billion years ago from a primordial cloud of dust. The reports suggest planet formation is not as violent and chaotic a process as once assumed.

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Scientists detect an unexplainable radio signal from outer space that repeats every 16 days

Outer space signal detected

For the first time, scientists have detected a radio signal from outer space that repeats at regular intervals.

The series of so-called "fast radio bursts" – which are very short-lived pulses of radio waves that come from across the universe – were detected approximately once an hour for four days and then suddenly stopped, only to start up again 12 days later.

This cycle repeated every 16.35 days for over a year, according to a new paper about the research.

The bursts originated from a distant galaxy some 500 million light-years away.

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NASA astronaut Christina Koch returns to Earth after record mission

Christina Koch, astronautAmerican astronaut Christina Koch, who led the first all-female spacewalk in 2019, landed in Kazakhstan on Thursday after a record stay on the International Space Station, ending a 328-day mission expected to yield new insights into deep-space travel.

Koch, a North Carolina-born engineer who joined NASA’s astronaut corps in 2013, set the record for the longest stay in space by a woman. Her mission will provide researchers valuable data on how weightlessness and space radiation affect the female body on long spaceflights.

“Women acclimate well to space, so I think this is a milestone that will be overtaken by women in the future and it’s what we aspire to,” said Lori Garver, NASA’s former deputy administrator.

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Scientists discover Earth’s oldest solid material – stardust older than the sun

Meteorite

Scientists have discovered the oldest solid material ever found on Earth from a meteorite that fell in Australia about 50 years ago.

The material that the researchers examined are called presolar grains – or stardust – particles from a star that can eventually form new stars, along with planets, moons and meteorites.

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